November 2013 Triangle Vegan Pledge Recap


The third Chapel Hill Vegan Pledge began on November 2nd with another great group of Pledges! At our first meeting, we discussed the far reaching implications of adopting a vegan lifestyle, including animal ethics, social justice, environmental concerns, and health and nutrition before enjoying another amazing cooking demo provided by longtime volunteer Linda Rapp Nelson.  In addition to tiramisu cupcakes, carrot cake, and beer bread provided by our mentors, Linda made a delicious vegan chili, a maple-mustard dressing, and a pumpkin cheesecake spread.

At our following meeting Linda and Professor Alan Nelson led an in-depth discussion of vegan ethics and Justin Van Kleeck, founder of Vegan Night Out, presented on the heavy environmental impact of animal agriculture.  For our cooking demo, Monika Caruso prepared delicious gluten-free feast, included her much sought after mac and vegan cheese.

Registered Nurse Stephanie Hodges joined us for our third meeting to present on health and nutrition and she showed us how to prepare a tasty meal with no salt, no sugar, and no oil.  Then Lenore Braford of the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge joined us to discuss common “humane” myths and explain what terms like “cage-free” and “free-range” really mean.

Finally at meeting 4 we were treated to a shopping tour of Whole Foods and some delicious vegan chili with cashew sour cream followed by a potluck to celebrate another successful Pledge.  And we’re very excited to announce that sign ups are now live for our fourth Pledge in the Triangle region!  If you’re interested in learning about veganism and eating some delicious vegan food, please join us in Chapel Hill this February!  Veganism is better for your health, better for the environment, and the morally right thing to do.  Start the new year by living your values and go vegan with us!

To learn more, please visit the Peace Advocacy Network and the Triangle Vegan Pledge on Facebook and join our Meetup group!


Triangle Vegan Pledge Kicks Off This Saturday!

By popular demand, the Triangle Vegan Pledge will kick off a fall vegan pledge this Saturday, November 2nd! Pledge participants and mentors will enjoy food, film, fun, discussion, and life-changing inspiration for 5 weeks, with weekly meetings hosted by the UNC Law School. The fall pledge will conclude with a vegan potluck and final Q&A.

Check out the schedule of meetings, and contact us if you are interested in signing up for this or future pledges!

UNC Law School
60 Ridge Road, CB #3380,
Chapel Hill, NC

Week 1: Saturday, Nov. 2 (11am-1:30pm)
Cooking Demo
Film screening: Vegucated

Week 2: Saturday, Nov. 9 (11am-1:30pm)
Ethics (Prof. Alan Nelson & Linda Nelson)
Cooking Demo
Environment (Justin Van Kleeck, Vegan Night Out)

Week 3: Saturday, Nov. 16 (11am-1:30pm)
Health & Nutrition (Stephanie Hobbes, RN)
Cooking Demo
Humane Myths (Lenore Braford, Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge)

Week 4: Saturday, Nov. 23 (11am-1:30pm)
Meet at Whole Foods for Vegan Tour

Week 5: Saturday, Nov. 30 (11am-1:30pm)
Responding to Questions about Veganism

Cooking Demo: Making cashew-based vegan cheese sauce with Linda!

I’m sure most of our pledges will recognize our peerless baker and vegan chef, Linda Nelson!  In addition to baking for almost all of our pledge meetings and presenting two of our popular Pledge cooking demos, Linda was kind enough to star in our debut video demo!  In this cooking demonstration, Linda is making a cashew-based vegan cheese sauce while offering us her thoughts of veganism and animal rights.  The full recipe is below.  Try it with macaroni & cheese, baked potatoes, grits, or veggies!  A special thanks to James DeAlto for filming!

Creamy Macaroni and Cashew Cheese

1 1/4 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 to 2 teaspoons salt, to taste (I leave it out)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper  (I use ground black pepper since I keep forgetting to get some white)
3 1/2 cups nondairy milk   (I always use soy milk since it makes a thicker sauce than some of the thinner non-dairy milks)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup light miso paste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I’ve left this out when I don’t have a fresh lemon)
12 to 16 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked.

* I always add about 1/4 cup of my homemade dijon mustard though a commercial brand would work well, if you choose to add it.

Directions for the cheese sauce:

Place cashews in large-sized bowl of the food processor and finely grind. Don’t, however, allow cashews to turn to paste. Add nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, garlic powder, and white pepper. Pulse three more times to blend in the spices.

In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch, and oil. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease heat to low-medium, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until thickener dissolves.

With the food processor running, gradually add milk/oil mixture to cashew/nutritional yeast mixture. Blend for 2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy. Next, blend in miso and lemon juice.

Combine cashew cheese with macaroni and serve. You also may bake it (I always do).

To make the baked version: Preheat the over to 325. Transfer the macaroni mixture to a baking dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through. Uncover dish, and sprinkle 1/2 cup herbed bread crumbs or cracker crumbs on top. Continue baking, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and crisp. Serve hot.


Jenny Brown, founder of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, visits the Triangle!


“Animals are with us, not for us” – Jenny Brown, The Lucky Ones

This weekend Jenny Brown, co-founder of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, visited Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh to discuss her memoir, The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals and then stopped by the site of the future Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge! Thanks to the Triangle Vegan Club and especially to 2013 Pledge Linda James for making this happen!

patsyjudydroolingBrown’s memoir is a candid, wry look back on her evolution from casual meateater to passionate animal rights activist. She and her husband Doug founded Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in 2004, and since then it has grown into one of the most successful sanctuaries and vegan outreach efforts in the country. Woodstock has rescued hundreds of animals from neglect, abuse, and slaughter while educating the public about factory farming and animal exploitation.  After explaining the misery of factory farms to her audience, Jenny told much more hopeful stories of the animals that escaped and made their way to her Woodstock sanctuary, like Petunia, Patsy and Judy, and Dylan. Jenny’s presentation was a galvanizing reflection of each individual’s ability to refuse to participate systematic injustice simply by going vegan.

In The Lucky Ones, Jenny frequently quotes the German theologian Albert Schweitzer, who famously wrote “Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”  Sanctuaries like Woodstock not only save hundreds and even thousands of animals, they show us all the peaceful, joyful existences animals can live once freed from the unnecessary suffering we consign to billions of others.  As daunting as those numbers can be, remember: We can change that!  Go vegan today!

Big news! The Triangle Vegan Pledge is year-round now!

We’re very excited to announce that we’re expanding the Pledge into a year-round program!  We’ll still be holding our traditional Pledge every year, but this new format will allow us to reach more people.  How does this new format work? Instead of meeting as a group every week, each new Pledge will meet with his or her mentor individually four times over the course of a month, in person or via skype.  We’ll work with new Pledges to develop meal plans and we’ll provide participants with new resources every day to make this transition simple and meaningful. We’ll talk about health and nutrition, environmentalism, ethics, cooking, and the day to day life of a vegan, just like our yearly Pledge! Sign up now!

Stove-top Mac & Cheese (from today’s vegan potluck)

This is meant to mimic the stuff that comes in a blue box, but it doesn’t taste exactly the same. It’s much better.

16 oz. elbow pasta
1 medium/large yukon gold potato, peeled and chopped
¼ large onion (or ½ a small onion), chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1½ cups water 
1 vegetable bouillon cube 
¼ cup nutritional yeast
⅔ cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
1 tbsp. drained pimentos
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. vegan butter
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook and drain pasta. 

Combine potato, onion, carrot, garlic, water, and bouillon cube in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Keep covered and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.

Place vegetables, with their cooking water, in a blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Combine sauce with pasta. If you’d like, add 1 cup of steamed and chopped broccoli florets. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving.

Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, Dr. Michael Greger

“Death in America is largely a foodborne illness. Focusing on studies published just over the last year in peer-reviewed scientific medical journals, Dr. Greger offers practical advice on how best to feed ourselves and our families to prevent, treat, and even reverse many of the top 15 killers in the United States.”

Vegan Mac & Cheese

By Matt Props, Ninth Street Bakery vegan chef

(serves 6)
1/2 med Sweet Onion, minced
3 tbl Earth Balance or other Non-Dairy Margarine (optional. can use water for sauteing to avoid extra fat)
3 cups Non-Sweetened Almond Milk
1 tsp Agave Nectar
3 tbl Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Low-Sodium Tamari
2 tbl Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tsp Lemon Juice
5 tbl Garlic Powder
1 tsp Dill
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 Low-Sodium Vegetable Bouillon Cube (or 1/4 cup Veg Broth and an additional 1/4 Nutritional Yeast)
2 1/4 cups Nutritional Yeast
2 tbl Hot Sauce of choice (optional… but it really does wonders for the final outcome)

Heat saucepan over medium heat for about 4-5 min. Add minced onion and Earth-Balance (or water if substituting). Saute onions for a few min, until slightly golden brown. Add almond milk, stir well, then add all remaining ingredients except nutritional yeast. Whisk or stir well, then turn heat to high. Continue to whisk and cook on high until boil is reached. At this point add yeast, whisk quickly and vigorously until smooth. Once smooth, reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste.
*this sauce is great on lots of other foods… steamed veggies, baked potatoes, sandwiches, etc.

1 box of your choice (I like the shells… seems to really soak up the sauce nicely). Cook according to directions, drain, then immediately plunge into large bowl of cold water. Leave in water until ready to use. Drain well, place in large bowl and toss with cheese sauce. At this point you have options… To do a rustic, southern style version place mixture in 9×5 dish (or larger), sprinkle with about 3/4 – 1 cup bread crumbs and bake at 400 degrees for about 10-12 minutes or until crusty around edges and golden brown on top. The other option is to return the mixture to your saucepan, cover and simmer over low heat until warm.
*to make this recipe gluten free simply use rice or quinoa pasta, avoid breadcrumbs and make sure any bouillon cubes or tamari you purchase is wheat free. i’ve made the gluten free version for friends and it was definitely as much of a success as the regular recipe.

Lemon Coconut Bundt Cake

Recipe from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
Serves 10
Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

1-2/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups canola oil
1 (14-oz) can coconut milk
1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tbs finely grated lemon zest
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
A few tablespoons confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling (or make a lemon glaze with 1-1/2 cups of confectioners sugar, 1 tsp lemon zest, and 1 Tbsp lemon juice) 

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8 or 10″ Bundt pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the granulated sugar, oil, coconut milk, soy milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the wet ingredients in batches, mixing well after each addition. Fold in the coconut. Pour batter into the Bundt pan. Bake 1 hour or until a knife inserted  through the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then place a cutting board over the cake pan, gently flip over, and release the cake from the pan. Let cool completely. Once cooled, sift a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar over the top (or glaze). Slice and serve.